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Italy trying to clamp down on Internet videos

A government decree, aimed at sites like YouTube, would require the vetting of videos with sexual or violent content.

An Italian decree that would require the vetting of videos with sexual or violent content could take effect as soon as February 4, according to reports.

The government decree, which affects sites such as Google's YouTube, would also require sites that regularly upload videos to obtain a license to operate in Italy, the Associated Press reported Friday.

Companies and organizations, including Google, telecommunications providers, and press watchdog groups, are seeking changes in the proposed decree. They assert that it would hurt freedom of expression and be extremely difficult to enforce and monitor.

The draft decree "poses yet another threat to freedom of expression in Italy," Reporters Without Borders said in a statement this week.

Marco Pancini, European senior policy counsel of Google Italia who testified this week before an Italian parliamentary committee, said Friday that he expects that the proposal will undergo changes and be delayed.

"We are concerned over the fact that [companies], like YouTube, that simply make content available to the general public, are being bundled together with traditional television networks that actually manage content," Pancini told the newspaper La Stampa, according to Time. "It amounts to destroying the entire Internet system."